Cris Cyborg earned her fourth straight UFC win on Saturday night (Dec. 30), when she took a unanimous decision against Holly Holm at UFC 219 in Las Vegas.
For Cyborg (19-1), it was her first first defense of the UFC women’s featherweight championship and her biggest opponent to date… in the former bantamweight titleholder.
Holm was cautious throughout the fight, taking the champ to her longest fight in recent years. Before the fight, Cyborg has won all but two of her fights by knockout and nine coming in the opening round.
After five rounds, the judges scored the bout 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47.
“She was an amazing fighter,” Cyborg said after the fight. “Thank you, God, for the opportunity.”
Holm (11-4) tried to stay out of range of Cyborg’s strikes, hopping in and out of distance and throwing lefts or attempting headkicks. And, when Cyborg slowly closed the distance, Holm grabbed her and clinched against the cage. Still, Cyborg was relentless, pursing her with caution, while easily blocking o r deflecting her strikes and countering with heavy shots. Those shots began to show effect by the third round, with Holm’s left eye visibly swollen.
While Holm showed heart, Cyborg was just too much for her. Cyborg cuts weight to make the 145-pound limit, whereas Holm has to go up in weight to make the fight happen — she usually fights at 135.
According to Fightmetric, Cyborg outlanded Holm in total strikes 116-65.
What’s next for Cyborg? She has has expressed interest in former Invicta FC champion Megan Anderson (8-2).
“I want to fight somebody at 145, maybe Megan Anderson. Maybe we can fight in Australia,” Cyborg said, referring to Anderson’s native country. “I have a lot of fans there.”
Before the headlining fight between Cyborg and Holm, Khabib Nurmagomedov easily ran through Edson Barboza, taking a unanimous decision victory. Nurmagomedov (25-0) maintained his perfect record by simply bullying Barboza, wrestling him to the ground and pounding him with heavy hands throughout.